“It’s never smooth,” Holmes said. “There are always challenges.
Theranos ultimately collapsed after a series of explosive articles in the Wall Street Journal and an audit of federal regulators revealed serious and potentially dangerous flaws in the company’s blood tests. The scandal wiped out Holmes’ fortune, estimated at $ 4.5 billion in 2014, when it received glowing coverage on Fortune magazine.
Holmes touched on several thorny areas that government prosecutors highlighted when presenting their case in the first 10 weeks of the trial. But she and her attorneys still haven’t touched on a burning question they suggested as a key defense: whether Holmes was secretly being manipulated by her former lover and former Theranos COO, Sunny Balwani, into contrary behavior. to ethics.
In court documents released shortly before the trial began in early September, Holmes’ lawyers accused Balwani of subjecting Holmes to “intimate partner violence.” Balwani, who faces another fraud trial next year, has denied the allegations through his lawyer.
Balwani’s role as an executive at Theranos appeared on Tuesday for the first time since Holmes spoke at the end of last week. At one point, Holmes indirectly criticized Balwani for a blunt 2013 email that he sent berating former Theranos manager Surekha Gangakhedkar in the middle of the night. Gangakhedkar, who testified to expressing concerns about issues with Theranos’ technology, ultimately resigned, citing the stress she was feeling.
Holmes told the jury that she regretted this episode with Gangahedkar. “It’s not the right way to treat people,” she said.
Balwani also drew up a series of financial projections that were the focus of the lawsuit, according to Holmes. In documents distributed to potential investors, Theranos forecast annual revenues of $ 140 million in 2014 and $ 990 million in 2015. Other evidence presented during the trial showed that the company was never far away. close to achieving those goals.
Holmes said the revenue forecast for 2015 was largely based on a planned expansion to 3,000 Walgreens stores that never materialized after the retailer pulled out of its partnership with Theranos.
Another moment of contrition came when she took responsibility for adding the logo of Pfizer, a major drugmaker, to a report touting the effectiveness of Theranos’ technology. The move came after an internal report from Pfizer that Holmes said he had never seen expressed doubts about the reliability of Theranos’ blood tests.
“I would have liked to have done it differently,” said Holmes. Several investors testified that seeing the Pfizer logo on the report helped them persuade them to invest in Theranos.
Holmes, who raised nearly $ 1 billion after founding Theranos in 2003, faces allegations of deception from investors, patients and business partners while running the company in Palo Alto, Calif. If found guilty, she faces a prison sentence of up to 20 years.